Wednesday, December 16, 2015

App Smashing with Adobe Voice and Phoetic

It is always fun and engaging to use iPads to have students create videos of their work, but it is even more fun when a project can be inspired by a holiday like Christmas. Then share projects with students' parents via email or posted on a teacher's blog/website. Parents love to see and hear their children. This project is a great way to capture a moment in time.

For this project, see examples below, students typed out the Christmas poem they created in Google Docs. Then they copied the text of their poem and pasted the text in Phoetic, a word cloud creating app, to generate a word cloud. Lastly students created an Adobe Voice of their poetry using images through Adobe Voice and their Phoetic word cloud.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Adobe Slate as a Tool in the Elementary Classroom

In my last blog post I wrote about using Adobe Voice in the classroom and today I am writing about using the sister App, Adobe Slate. This app could be used for a variety of projects like explaining a topic, "how to" tutorial, sharing knowledge of a standard including photos of evidence, word work, and anything else that can be shared with photos and text.

Here is the App Store description...


Named App Store Editors’ Choice, Slate lets you turn your next newsletter, report, invitation or travel adventure into a gorgeous visual story that delights readers on any device. Simply tap to select a unique look — beautiful fonts, color and magazine-style design are automatically incorporated. Fluid movement and elegant motion are applied instantly. Share your Slate story link anywhere. Grab attention, increase awareness and inspire action. Stand out.
I suggest creating one teacher account for all students to use in the elementary level because creating an account requires an email address. It is a good idea to use a student friendly password so that the students can log in.
Below is one that I created to share with my students. You can embed your own projects... and here is a link to a 2nd grade student Adobe Slate.
Sunsets at Lily Lane

Friday, September 25, 2015

Using Adobe Voice in the Elementary Classroom

Classroom teachers and students have another wonderful iOS app at their disposal! I love, love, love this app!!! Adobe Voice is very intuitive for students and teachers to navigate. Plus the finished projects are enjoyable to watch. Students can save the video to their camera roll or email a link to the video which is stored on Adobe's site.

Suggested uses:

1. Fluency
2. Tell a story
3. Tutorial
4. Share knowledge
5. Explain understanding of a standard

How To Video created with the help of some of my students.

Student Examples:

My Eyes (3rd Grade)

Pollution (5th Grade)

The Cat (Kindergarten)

How to Make a Rooter Float (3rd Grade)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Purchasing iOS Apps Without Your iPad

As you all know, K/1 teachers do not have iPads yet. However, you can still purchase free Apps to have in your account for later use by you and your students. Plus this is good to know if you want to purchase apps from your laptop if your iPad is not handy.

1. Log into your iTunes Account on your laptop using your assigned Apple ID. (Your ID should be "YourSchool"ipad"#" ) There would be no spaces nor capital letters. Example = If you do not know your assigned iPad number, please shoot me an email. I have access to the list. 

2. Search for the app that you would like in the iTunes Store.

3. Purchase the app by clicking where is says "Get". After you have done this step, the app will show up in the "purchased" section of the App Store on all devices that are logged into your Apple ID. 

If you have any questions, please let me know. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Preparing your Classroom Technology for Summer Break

It is that time of year again to organize your classroom so that it can be cleaned over the summer. Cleaning staff does not clean your school supplies and tools and the same applies to the technology in your classroom. I have compiled a check list of things that you will want to do so that your iPads will survive the summer of non-use and how you and/or your students may want to go about cleaning your technology devices.

1. Charge your iPads to between 50% and 70% and then unplug them from the chargers. You will need to give your iPads a complete charge when you return in August. This will insure that your iPads batteries will not be damaged.
2. Shut down your iPads.
3. If you would like to clean the iPads, use a microfiber cloth for the screen and soap & water on the cases or Clorox Disinfectant Wipes for the cases.
4. Place all iPads in your storage cabinet.
5. Make sure your projector is turned off and not just in sleep mode.
6. Put your document camera (Elmo) somewhere safe where it will not get knocked around or damaged.
7. Unplug your sound system and store the box along with all of the wires somewhere safe so that they do not get lost in the shuffle.

Here is a link to an article from Apple about Maximizing Battery Life and Lifespan on an iPad.

If you have any questions, please email me.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Preparing for the New Technology for 2015-2016 School Year

Our district will have some beneficial technology changes for elementary classroom teachers and their students next year.

For starters, all of the elementary teachers will be receiving a brand new, right out of the box, laptop this summer (MacBook Air). What that means for elementary classroom teachers... back up all of your files onto an external hard drive or into Google Drive before you trade your old laptop in. If you have taken advantage of Google Apps for Education, you will have all of those documents available to you as soon as you log into your Google account. Another benefit with Google is your bookmarks will be saved. Make sure to sign into Chrome by clicking the little person in the upper right hand corner of the browser and choose to link data. Then no matter what computer you sign into Chrome with, you will have all of your bookmarks available. If you use Firefox or Safari click the links to learn how to save your bookmarks. When I received my laptop this winter, I did not restore it using Time Machine, but rather only uploaded files on my computer that I need to use. The rest of my older files stayed on external hard drives and flash drives. The less you have stored on your computer, the more efficiently it will run. A great article on using an external hard drive to store documents and applications. With your new MacBook Air, you will have an SD slot. This is another way to store files and keep your Mac running faster without having to carry around a hard drive or a flash drive. Cards are made to fit nicely into the laptop without sticking out like flash drives. See photos below.

How to back up documents to an external hard drive.

How to back up documents to Google Drive.

Your new laptop will come with a variety of advantages, one being that the Airs can work wirelessly with a classroom Apple TV. This means less wires to plug in and the convenience of projecting your laptop and the sound from your laptop from anywhere in your classroom. We are very fortunate to be getting faster and better laptops plus not hand-me-downs from the MLTI buy back program. However, this exchange does come with one thing that we will need to work on. For those teachers that play DVDs from your laptop, we will need to come up with a different solution. For teachers who have purchased videos from iTunes, you can play those from your Apple TV. Also if you have a Netflix account you can sign in to your account on your Apple TV and project videos, but if you do not have either option available, you may want to think about teaming up with some teachers to purchase a device that will play DVDs for you.

The plan is to be 1-1 with iPads in grades 2-5 for the 2015-2016 school year. There will also be changes with the way you get apps for your classroom iPads. All app purchases, free or paid, will need to go through Ryan via the tech help ticket system. Choose app request from the drop down menu. Ryan will push the apps to the classroom iPads fairly quickly. Classroom teachers will also have one extra iPad for teacher use. This iPad will not have to have apps downloaded through Ryan. You can use your own Apple ID to purchase apps, test apps out, and decide if the apps are worth adding to your classroom iPads. The downside to teachers having their own iPad is, the iPad carts will no longer be available. Who this will effect... K-1 classroom teachers who have religiously signed out and used the iPad carts. During the next school year, K-1 teachers will have a teacher iPad and a couple more iPads will be added to their already existing set of 5 iPads. I know many of my K-1 teachers have grown accustomed to using the cart so that they can have a class set of iPads. Unfortunately this will be an adjustment to those classroom teachers. What I hope to see is teachers teaming up and sharing iPads for the times when a full class set is needed. Every classroom that has iPads right now will be keeping what they have and for grades 2-5 will be supplemented with the latest iPads to create a class set, except if you teach 3rd grade. In 3rd grade the mini iPads will be removed and you will receive the regular size iPads, probably a mix of iPad 2s and the newest model. I imagine, but don't know the logistics, this will probably mean that K-1 teachers will have minis instead of iPad 2s or quite possibly a mix of the two sizes. K-1 classrooms may or may not have to trade in their iPad 2s for mini iPads. This also means that you will have some old iPads with 16G of storage and new iPads with 64G of storage. You may want to keep this in mind when choosing who in your classrooms will have which iPads. Also, your storage cabinet has 20 charging slots. If you have a larger than 20 student class next year, you will want to have a solution in place for charging the extra iPads that will be sitting on the bottom shelf inside your iPad cabinet.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. As with any plan, there will be things that we need to work on together. I look forward to helping grades 2-5 move forward with a 1-1 implementation and helping K-1 figure out next steps and how you can make the most of the devices that will be available to you.

Friday, May 8, 2015

International Friends Foster Learning

What a great opportunity to meet students from another country! We have been blessed to sail two iBoats in the Atlantic Ocean. An iBoat is a small unmanned boat that has a GPS tracker attached to it.  Our first boat circled around in what is called, "The Garbage Patch" for many months and is still sailing around. The second boat we sailed left shore October 2013. Fishermen off the coast of Cape Cod dropped it in the ocean for us and 11 months later (November 14, 2014) it landed in Quilmes Carnota (La Coruna), Spain. The nice gentleman who discovered the boat, brought it to the local school. Documents attached to the boat asked that whoever finds the boat to find a local school to bring the boat to. That is when a friendship was born. My contact information was also on the boat and the headmaster of the school got in touch with me. We have had two Skype visits so far and we plan to meet again. Videos of our meetings below.

We plan to meet one more time. My students are learning a couple songs in Spanish, we have a students band that will play, and we will share some information about our community.

If you would like more information about the iBoat program, visit Educational Passages.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Word Work, the iPad, and the Elementary Classroom

Whether a teacher uses Daily 5 in the classroom or not, word work is an important piece of student daily learning. This article will provide an extensive list of word work appropriate iOS apps. Each app will be listed by grade level and state how it will best serve your students while they work with words in the classroom. All apps are free unless otherwise noted.

Creation apps for all grades: (Get creative with word work!)

Practice apps for a variety of grades:

Practice apps for pre-kindergarten to third grade:

Honorable Mention:

Links to Apps on iTunes: (In the order they appeared in the article.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Think Before You Post!

The 5th grade theme for Internet Safety in my elementary schools has been "Think Before You Post" for several years. This year I reevaluated my follow up activity to the student lesson and challenged my 5th graders to create "Think Before You Post" videos that I can share with next year's 5th grade students. I am very proud of my students for living up to the challenge. For many, just the process of talking through the information and creating a video was enough to have their brains soak in the information from the lesson... However, many of my students lived up to the challenge and created really good, thought provoking, and slightly humorous videos. In my opinion, the humor does not take away from the message that the students are hopefully conveying. Check out the videos below to witness brilliant 5th graders!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Art of App Smashing

App Smashing is a relatively new (2+/- years) in the world of technology. iPad users app smash when when one iOS app does not serve all the needs of a project. When that is the case, a person will do parts of a project in one app, parts in another app, and then smash them together to create something that otherwise would have not been possible to create. The art of app smashing is to think outside of the box and make apps work for you. There certainly is no right or wrong way to app smash. Bring out your creativity and imagination and you will be amazed with the digital products that you and your students will be able to create.

Ideas and examples for App Smashing:

1. Third grade students learning about planets created a fact web in Popplet Lite, imported their Popplet into Educreations, added voice to their project using Educreations, and, once saved in Educreations, classmates could check out each other's work. Example below. This app smash can be used for a variety of projects or as a way to demonstrate understanding of a standard.

2. Fourth grade students demonstrating their knowledge of Biomes used Skitch to annotate on pictures of biomes and then the students imported the pictures into iMovie or Educreations so that they could add their voice to the project. Students created a photo for each biome and then used the pictures in their project to create the final product in an app that allows for voice recording with a pic as the background.

3. Teachers may need and want to app smash as well. When I was creating QR code dice I needed to use a few different apps and tools. For this dice project I used a QR code creator app. Then in Penultimate I imported the picture of the dice template and all six of the different QR code images. I was able to place each QR code in a separate box on the template. There may be other apps that let you overlap images to create an end product, but I have found that Penultimate is the easiest app for that purpose.

4. Tellagami is a fun app for students to record their voice while reading fluently. Younger students may have time to finish their story in the 30 seconds that Tellagami gives you to record. However, if students run out of time, they could record more than one Gami and then string all of the Gamis together in a movie making app like iMovie.

If an app does not give you enough time, find another app that will let you string together segments to allow for the time you need. If an app does not give you the ability to add voice, find another app to add voice to your project. If an app does not let you annotate on a picture, find another app that will do that job for you. There are so many apps out there and I'll bet you have heard the expression, "There is an app for that". Well, that statement is so true. Find the app that does what you need and put it together with another app that fits another need and you have successfully smashed apps.

I have only given a few examples, but I hope that there may be something included in these examples that sparked some ideas for you to try. There are so many ways to app smash, so have fun and get smashing!

Friday, January 9, 2015

NWEA Testing Tutorials

The purpose of this article is to serve as a resource for teachers who will be proctoring NWEA tests. I have created a series of tutorial videos to help you through the process and hopefully trouble shoot any issues that may arise. At the end of the article I wrote out some trouble shooting tips.

NWEA Teacher Log-in and Starting a Test

*To find my website... google search "mrs gleason". 
The first link is my website or you can click here.

NWEA  Computer Set-up and Student Log-in

NWEA Student Log-in (Student Version)
You could show this video to your students ahead of time,
to prepare them for logging in before you go to the computer lab.

Trouble Shooting Quick Tips:

1. If a student gets booted out of their computer... Go to the test session on your teacher computer. Click on the box before that student's name so that it is checked. Click on Select Action. Choose Suspend. Then you will have to select the student again, then Test Again in actions. They will have to sign in and be confirmed again. You need to complete the Test Again part of the instructions before the student can sign in, otherwise their name will not be on the list.

Sometimes a student will be booted out of the test before they begin. If that happens, instead of changing the student's testing status from Testing to Suspend in Select Actions, you will need to choose Do Not Confirm. The object of this trouble shooting process is to always get a student back to Awaiting Student so that they can log in from their computer. You can use any of the options in Select Action except Terminate. The Terminate option will end a test and not save any of the student progress. 

2. If a question does not load properly... On the lower left of the students testing screen there is a reset button. Click Reset and then click yes. Sometimes after this step there is still the instructions for a student to raise their hand. If you feel that the message does not interfere with the student reading and answering the question, the student can continue. If you want to remove the message, go to your teacher testing page, click in the box next to the student's name, go up to Select Action, choose Pause, click on the student's box in front of their name again, go to Select Action, choose Resume. The student will need to click Resume on their computer and then a new question will appear.

3. If a student does not finish their test. Click in the box next to student's name and in Select Action choose Suspend. This will allow the student to pick up on the same number question the next time that they log in. There is a time limit to a suspended test. I think it is 14 days... When the student logs back in to test again, make sure to choose resume where they left off when prompted on the teacher computer. When you end a test session, any student that was testing will automatically be suspended. You can use this option to save time from checking boxes in front of student names.